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INADEQUATE CHARTER REVIEW HELPS ADVANCE BAD LAWS LIKE BILL C-51
In recent years, CCLA has become increasingly concerned about critical accountability and transparency gaps in our law-making process. These gaps allow contentious legislation — think: Bill C-51, the Fair Elections Act, the omnibus mandatory minimums crime bill, and the bill limiting refugee access to Canada — to be passed without open, adequate, and meaningful consideration of their constitutional vulnerabilities (i.e. if, how, and to what extent a proposed law may violate the Charter).
AVOIDABLE COURT BATTLES & RIGHTS AT RISK
That job has been left to our already overburdened courts, and to affected individuals and public interest organizations, such as CCLA, who, in recent years, have at times been compelled to launch Charter challenges as the only viable recourse. This is unfortunate given that these particular challenges — which come at a significant cost not only to the applicants, but also the public — could likely have been avoided had Parliament done its duty. And of even greater concern, as these lengthy court battles play out — many of them take years — the laws in question remain in effect, leaving the rights and freedoms of Canadians at risk.
PROACTIVE MEASURES NEEDED
Notwithstanding the promise from the Trudeau government of a ‘new dynamic’ on Charter matters, CCLA believes that proactive accountability and transparency measures are needed to help compel our government and parliamentarians — both present and future — to honour their fundamental duty to uphold the Charter throughout the law-making process.